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Wincanton Racecourse to Host First Ever Side-Saddle Charity Flat Race

Friday 2 October 2015, 15:01
By Hannah Walker

Side-saddle riding

On Sunday, 25th October Wincanton will stage the first ever side-saddle charity flat race on a British racecourse in celebration of the Somerset track’s two season association with the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT) – held on the anniversary of The Charge of The Light Brigade.

The late October race day is synonymous as a fundraising fixture, and this year’s event will make history with eleven lady jockeys elegantly dressed in the traditional side-saddle attire of a bygone era, galloping one mile, two furlongs in a dash to the winning line.

The Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation has generously sponsored the SSIT Side-saddle Dash which is an adaptation of the Diana's of the Chase Cup (DOC) - a two mile cross country side-saddle contest that was reinvented two years ago and is now an annual event held in Leicestershire. The DOC race was originally held in Gillingham, Dorset (last recorded in 1924) so it is apt that it returns to its Somerset roots.

The eleven lady jockeys taking part have a wealth of point-to-point, hunting and side-saddle experience and include the successful point-to-point jockey Clare Gundry, side-saddle devotee Philippa Holland and a number of female work riders. The ladies will race on appropriate thoroughbreds, largely ex-racehorses and will be led down to the start by the legendary Big Bucks ridden by Lucy Tucker.

Last season, Wincanton’s Chairman - Jo Hepburn – successfully created a Charity Committee from which we have formed a wonderful partnership with the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust.

I love the originality of this inaugural Side-saddle Dash – the uniqueness of the race and its strong rural association really reflects all things Wincanton, and we very much hope the Dash is the first of many. I am sure that the day will raise a huge amount for the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, which is such a worthwhile cause in the region.

 - Huw Williams, Wincanton Racecourse’s General Manager

Our partnership with Wincanton Racecourse is a fantastic way for us to help more people with spinal cord injuries. All the side-saddle riders are fundraising for the charity, and donations can also be made at our website www.ssit.org.uk or at our Virgin Money Giving page. Our much-needed funds are used to provide grants that help injured people buy specialist equipment to make a real difference in their daily living.

 - Sally Moger, Charity Manager at the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust

Gates open at 11.00am on Sunday, 25th October, with the Dash scheduled to take place before the first official race at 1.25pm.

Advance tickets start from £16 and are available online at www.wincantonracecourse.co.uk or by calling 0844 579 3014. Children aged 17 and under race free when accompanied by an adult.




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